chinman.com

Public Zone 公開區 => Travelogues 遊記相薄 => Topic started by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 10:16:24



Title: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 10:16:24
In recent years I used to spend my Easter in Europe. This year I changed to Japan. The reason was evolved from a trip planned by my primary schoolmates that they would have a trip to Japan in the beginning of May, and I am too old to fly back and forth to Europe then Japan in mid April to May. At the same time, my sister in law would take my mom in law to Tokyo and my wife had long asked to see Sakura in Japan. Therefore, I put all three together and stayed in Japan for 17 days. The first 9 days will go to Tohoku area of Japan with my wife and her friends for Sakura and hiking, then a few days with my mom in law, after that I would join the trip with my primary schoolmates. Kind of 迎送生涯 ;D


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 10:25:20
I strongly recommend buying a rail pass for traveling to Tohoku. It is about 19000 yen for a 5 day pass, which means you can pick 5 days to use the pass within 14 day period. For traveling inter-cities, you have to use Shinkansen but the ticket price is very high. JR pass really saves you a lot as a one way ticket from Tokyo to Aomori already costed you about 20000 yen.

In addition, you may reserve tickets on internet to secure your seat on train. Otherwise you have to go to non-reserved carts to find a seat. The reservation of seat can be done via JR official website or a website called ekinet. For foreigners using English, you can reserve your seat before the date of departure but you have to pick up your reservation ticket 9:00pm before the date of departure. Hence, it poses a difficulty if you want to travel on the date you arrived in Japan. However, if you use Japanese website, you can pick up your reservation ticket before your actual departure time. So......is it racial discrimination?



Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 10:39:27
We took a early morning flight to Narita airport. After completed the custom clearance, we headed to the JR office to get our rail pass as we would go to Aomori on the first day. The office at the airport had already had tens of people waiting for the office opening. We then decided to go to Tokyo station to get our pass. I knew I had to pay for the train from airport to Tokyo station but it turned out that we had more time in Tokyo station, which was good for walking around and breakfast.

We arrived at Tokyo station JR office and there were only 3 people lining up for JR pass, compared with the long queue in the airport. When we completed the transactions (getting the pass and all the reservation tickets), we still had an hour or so to wander around.

Tokyo station is an old building with nice architecture. Later I had spent a night taking picture there. At that moment, I only took a picture of their ceiling of 丸之內 building.

The station is huge and has a lot of shops inside. The traveling time from Tokyo to Aomori is about 3 hours so we went buy some lunchboxes for lunch in train (which is rather an experience in train). There is a famous lunchbox shop inside Tokyo station which is now a tourist spot. I bought a roasted beef lunchbox.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 10:49:11
The train ride was smooth and fast. I strongly advise you to make reservation of the seat. Two reasons: a) a cart for reserved seat is more quiet and has less people walking around; b) you can reserved the first row or last row seat, which is very important if you are traveling with your luggages. Not all train has rooms for large luggages storage, so you can put your lugguages in front of you (for the first row) or behind your seat (for the last row). Otherwise, you may have to bring your large luggage up to the rack above your seat.

We arrived at the Hachinohe 八戶 station at noon. The hotel will pick us up there.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 10:49:18
The first day our hotel was Hoshino Resorts OiraseKeiryu Hotel 星野奥入瀬渓流. This resort is nice and the room is spacious. It is also very convenient for hiking around the Oirase Keiryu, which was our main activity in the first two days.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 10:57:55
This well decorated resort offers a lot of different activities to their guests. Not only transportation to the hiking tracks, but also different in-house activities, like glassware workshop, moss study, stargazing, etc, not to mention their two onsen baths.

As Aomori is famous for its apple, the restaurant and the cuisine are themed with apples too. They use apples a lot for the food and we tasted a bottle of "wine" made by apples.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 11:05:24
The hiking track here is very famous. The track in total is about 20km, all along a river flowing from Towada lake 十和田湖. It is quite easy to walk and the scenes are beautiful. You can imagine that the views will be different in different seasons.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 11:10:41
Along the path, there are lots of water falls, all in different scales and sizes, so the water flow is kept changing paces at different locations.



Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 11:14:24
The path is well protected by the government. Even a bus stop cannot be erected along the road, that makes people puzzle when they want to find a bus stop.

Somehow, the environment is well kept and you can feel the freshness of the air. Mosses grow well there too. At the time we visited, the winter snow is still melting.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 11:22:58
The second day we went to see Sakura. 弘前市 Hirosaki is a famous city for seeing Sakura. Before we went to Japan, the weather forecast said that all Sakura should be fully blossomed. But the weather turned freezing for a few days just before we arrived which delayed the process a bit. Hence we were lucky enough to see different stages of Sakura in this trip.

It was a rainy day. The good thing was that not many people there, but the bad thing was the freezing temperature and the rain. We were hiking at 3 degC but Hirosaki at 7 degC made me felt even colder.

The best place to see Sakura at Hirosaki is the castle. Before we entered the castle, we had already seen the sakura along the moat. Some of them started falling so part of the moat was full of sakura.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 11:27:56
There are different species of sakura, in different shaps and style.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 11:31:36
The background, the number of sakura and the light all made the place fantastic and beautiful.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 11:34:55
People can enter the castle outer area for free but you have to pay for the inner part. For the inner part, you can enter the castle tower to have a city view but there is not much to see in the evening and the spotlight are shining to the castle tower.



Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 11:40:53
At night, the moat becomes a must see spot. The sakura trees along the moat are lighted up which makes a stunning scene to see.

Water surface is flat and quiet, amazing.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 11:44:53
The next day morning we went to an old market at Aomori for breakfast, 古川市場. The operation is this, we bought a booklet of tickets and used those tickets to exchange for rice, fish, shrimp, etc to make your own seafood don. You can also pay cash for some other seafood if you wish. The market has places for you to sit down and eat, with tea and water served.

Not very delicious but fresh. A funny exercise too.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 11:50:33
After the breakfast, we went to have our second round of sakura seeing. We went to Ashinokoen 芦野公園.

We took a train there but we found the train was quite old when we were boarding. The train even has a stove built in and someone is toasting squid in the train.

After we sat down, an old man came and sat next to me. We talked a bit during the journey and he told me that this train is 71 years old without any renovation, i.e. the floor we were stepping on is 71 years old. He told me that because he is 71 years old too. He is from Hokkado.



Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 11:55:29
芦野公園 Ashinokeon station is hot place for sakura seeing. After the season, there are not many tourists going so the station is very simple. You pay cash when leaving the station, not buying tickets.

Most people, especially for the photographers are going to take a picture for a training passing through the sakura tunnel. Mine is without the train.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 11:59:33
This park has a lot of sakura with different species. A big park indeed, there is a camp site for traveling truck and we saw someone camping there. Again, I took the pictures of different species and hope I have time to study them.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 12:01:43
There is a statue for Dazai Osamu 太宰治, a famous novelist in Japan. He was born in this province. There is a museum somewhere near the park.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 12:05:39
This picture explains why I cannot take a picture with train through sakura tunnel. This is the platform of the train station. We bought the ticket and waited for the train back home and thought that we can walk to the end of the platform to take the picture when the train arrived.

However, the conductor caught me and took me back to the place for waiting the train and he did not allow the passengers to the end of the platform. Then I found out that you have to buy a separate ticket for taking picture at that spot. A non-passenger can buy a ticket for photo shooting only.......WTF


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 12:11:10
We were back to Aomori in the afternoon and went to the 睡魔之家 WARASSE. Nebuda is a ceremony held in the first week of August every year. People make a large lantern, so large that it needs tens of people to carry, and carry it for parade. The best one will be choosen as a competition. This Warasse is an exhibition center for this ceremony and it also displays the winner of every year. The entrance is modern and looks like the Chinese opera center in Hong Kong.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 12:16:04
The entrance has a small model of the lantern. Then a corridor showing the winner of every year and the name of the maker, the story of the lantern etc. Most of the lantern comes with a story, mostly Chinese story too. The themes of the stories are like those in The Three Kingdom, some ghost story, etc.

Then we entered the exhibition hall and we are all stunned by the size and craftmanship of the lantern.

The last picture shows the size of the lantern. Do you see the people on the right hand side?


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 12:22:02
Each of them has a different story to tell. The making of these lanterns is like what we have in the lantern for Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival in the old days.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 12:26:39
That ended our tour in Aomori. Our next stop is Yamagata 山形. Before that we stopped at Sendai 仙台 to have the Ox tongue and some local specialty food.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 12:33:07
Before we checked in the hotel, we went to Yamadera 山寺. Yamadera in fact is a collective name of a group of temples. These temple are built along a hill side slope. From the foot hill up, you need to walk more than 1000 steps to the top of the hill.

The lower level has already had a few temple, and some statues too.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 12:38:40
But the challenge was the uphill walk. You have to pay for entering the path. Along the path we can visit different temples and some structures.

The first picture is the entrance. Then walked up. The third picture is some wall crafting on the hill. There is a saying that if you can put a coin on the wall there, it will bring you luck. So we have the forth picture.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 12:43:21
Along the walkway we saw a lot of temple, shrine built from somewhere. Its architecture and structure are really interesting. At last we reached the temple at the top (2nd pic)

The other end has an isolated temple, which made me think of the three tower in San Marino.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 12:47:57
The view from that isolated temple is stunning. 欲窮千里目,更上一層樓

We can see the city view of the area (2nd picture), the lower right hand side of the picture is the train station that we started our walk.

The third picture shows the temple we passed through during our walk uphill.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 12:51:00
Later afternoon now and people were leaving. Before we left, we took a few pictures as there were not many people blocking our view.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 12:53:05
We went back to train station, got our luggage and headed to Yamagata. After we checked in, I found this notice in the hotel lobby. A time for learning special Japanese......


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 12:56:27
The next day we went to Ginzan 銀山溫泉. Before that we had a morning time to go to Yamagata Castle in Kajo Park 霞城公園.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 13:00:54
This castle had suffered a lot of damage in the past, most are rebuilt but some remains. We thought that all sakura were gone but a few can still be seen.

Sometimes a single sakura tree is quite nice.

The forth picture shows the old beam used in the rather new gate.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 13:06:23
The way to go Ginzan Onsen was by train to Oishida station 大石田. Then you can take the bus or request the hotel to pick you up (if you would stay in a hotel). We arrived about an hour earlier so we went to have a walk in the city. We followed the city government's suggestion to visit their cultural museum. On the way to the museum we saw sakura falling.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 13:09:10
The museum has not many things to see but it is the blessed place. It had never been damaged by earthquake and now it is the assembly point for people during earthquake. The museum is an old building with traditional decoration.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 13:23:04
From Oishida train station to Ginzan Onsen, it took about half an hour. Almost every hotel therein offers shuttle bus for their guest. We arrived Ginzan at about 2:30pm.

Ginzan Onsen is a well preserved village. You may find it familiar as a Japanese animation movie  千與千尋 is using this place as a reference. We stayed in Notoya ryoken 能登屋旅館. This one is amongst the oldest one here. We booked it 5 month in advance by email. Although they are open for online reservation 2 months in advance but the room supply is very limited. We felt lucky to write an email to ask 5 months in advance and got their confirmation. As Japan started their long holiday, a lot of Japanese traveled around and I found that we were the only foreigner stayed in this ryoken.

The ryoken is tidy and traditional.



Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 13:24:19
Room is spacious. Maybe we booked it so early, we thought our room was the best room they can offer. Our room at the top floor, facing the stream with the best view to the valley.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 20:07:39
The Ginzan Onsen buildings are built along the stream. Its style attracts a lot of tourists, both local and foreigners. It is also an Onsen area, you can see a foot onsen at the lower left corner of the third picture.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 20:10:41
The end of the stream is a waterfall so we decided to walk up and had a look.

It turned out that there is another waterfall......... :D

We walked up a bit further and found a notice saying that the ice is still melting and we are not allowed to go further........so......we had to return :-X


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 20:20:27
Our ryoken is close to the end of the stream. Most of the buildings were built in Taisho era 大正年代. Sometimes a rather modern hotel was built to replace the old but the neighbour would oppose the architecture. They strives to preserve the tradition building style. Hence there we have this nice onsen village.

This series of pictures were taken from the beginning of the village to my ryoken, which is located close to the end of the onsen street.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 20:24:54
In the evening, day trip tourists were all gone so less people on the street. But I think this is the best moment to feel the atmosphere of the street. It looks more romantic with street lighting.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 20:28:07
The ryoken is old but our stay was comfortable. Not a big onsen bath but adequate, one of the bath is built underground. Maybe this is the reason that this ryoken is a member of secret onsen association 秘湯會員.

Dinner was served in the room but breakfast in a dining area. Foods are delicious and made by local produces.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 20:36:47
Next morning we left the ryoken and headed to another city Yonezawa 米沢. The beef of this city 米沢牛 is very famous so we were going to have it for lunch and dinner.

Our first stop was a restaurant called Yoshitei 吉亭. This restaurant is not only famous in the beef they served, but also the landscape and decoration of the shop.

Yonezawa beef can be done by grill, shabu shabu or sukiyaki. We went for sukiyaki for lunch and grilled for dinner.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 20:41:54
We were too full after this tasty lunch. Then we started our sightseeing. The core location for visitors is the area around Uesugi-jinja 上杉神社. This group of buildings includes the jinja 上杉神社 and some memorial museum. The origin of this place is the old castle of Yonezawa. So there are still moat, garden, etc.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 20:53:46
This place are mainly for a few persons: Uesugi Kenshin 上杉謙信, Uesugi Yōzan上杉鷹山 and Date Masamune 伊達政宗.

Date Masamune was born here so there was a stone recording this.

Uesugi Kenshin originally had nothing to do with this city. When he marched to war with other generals, he passed away suddenly (some says that was due to heart attack) and he was buried in this castle. Therefore, his tomb was here and the people set up a shrine for worshiping this god of war. There is a statue of him too. (2nd and 3rd pictures)

Before I came to here, I know nothing about Uesugi Yōzan. Now I know that this guy is really something. He was the mayor of this city and he governed this city so well that JFK once said that he respected this guy most.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 20:58:07
Before we went for dinner, we still had an hour or so. Therefore, we added a sightseeing spot which is a sake factory Toko Sake Museum 酒造資料館 東光の酒蔵.

Not many to see actually, especially if you have already known how to make sake. But there are some interesting tastings. You can taste their sake for free. Besides, you can taste the water used for sake and the residue of the rice water after fermentation.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 21:01:46
Our dinner ws at Tokiwa 登起波, a hundred year old shop offering Yonezawa beef. We got to select the menu when making the booking. For grilled beef, they offer 3 types of menu and we ordered them all.........

See if you can distinguish which one is the most expensive and which one is the cheapest......


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 21:07:04
After that, we finished our tour at Yamagata area. The next morning we went to our third stop Utsunomiya 宇都宮, the capital of Gyoza 餃子.

The date was 1 May and the era was changed to Heisei 平成 to Reiwa 令和. You can see Reiwa everywhere.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 21:14:10
After we settled down our bags in hotel, we went to Ashigaka Flower Park 足利花卉公園 to see Wisteria 紫藤花. This park holds an exhibition of Wisteria every year in May.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 21:17:02
In fact this is just a flower show with lots of different species of Wisteria. They put them and prune them in different shapes.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 21:20:26
Too much flower will make me feel boring. So after I took a few more pictures, I started to find something fun, like shooting the tiny bugs and bees...... ;D


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 21:22:37
They have other flowers indeed.

BTW, they also have ice cream with Wisteria flavour. I tasted it and found it like tasting 紫花油......... :-[


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 21:25:20
Utsunomiya is the captial of Gyoza. There is a Gyoza dumpling statue at the train station.

In total, we tasted 3 different Gyoza shops and they are all good.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 21:31:36
The main reason that I came to Utsunomiya was not because of Wisteria, but because of Toshogu 日光東照宮, a world heritage and the bury place of Tokugawa Ieyasu 德川家康.

We went to Nikko 日光市 next morning. The entrance of Toshogu has a nice bridge called Shinkyo 神橋.



Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 21:34:19
Again, Toshogu contains a number of different temple. You have to walk through a number of other temples and walkway before reaching it.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 21:37:40
The first one is Rinnoji 輪王寺. It was a surprise that there were some sakura alive.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 21:43:22
Of course you have to pay the entrance fee for Toshogu. Due to public holiday, a long queue was expected. However this queue broke my record in Florence.

The first picture shows the queue. Can you find the entrance? I am sure not because the picture does not show the entrance. The gate in the far middle is just the entrance gate, where there are at least 50 meter to the ticketing booth and the actual entrance. There are about 100 people behind me too.

The next picture shows the entrance gate you see in the first picture.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 21:48:04
After we entered Toshogu, the first must see spot is the 3 monkeys graving. It is used to teach student about an old Chinese saying 非禮勿視,非禮勿聽,非禮勿言


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 21:52:02
The main temple is full of people. It is nicely built, detailed support, gold plated finishes, layers of load sharing latches.

The last two pictures show the front and back of the main temple entrance.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 21:53:55
The inner temple. It is the place for the shogun to worship. They really like golden furnishes for decoration. Maybe it reflected how rich they were in the early Edo era.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 21:56:44
On the right hand side there is a path going up the hill. From there we can reach the inner shrine, which is the tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 22:01:15
The left hand side of the Toshogu has a path leading to Futarasan Jinja 二荒山神社, a jinja for love.

Well, quite a lot of people going there and I found most of the items were related to love, family, husband and wife, lovers, etc.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 22:03:54
See! a temple for love in the middle, with Husband and wife pine tree.

The last one is the formal entrance to Futarasan Jinja


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 22:11:24
The last stop of our trip with my wife and her friends is Tokyo. We stayed at Ueno. After we dropped our bags, we went to Shibamata 柴又 to meet my sister in law.

Shibamata is an old district which keeps some of the buildings in Edo period. We can walk through the old street, tasted some local food and enjoy some landscape inside Japanese house.



Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 22:15:41
Two more things to mention. First this is also the place for filming a famous Japanese TV programme 男人真命苦, so it has a museum about this. There is a statue of the main character outside the train station

Second, there is a small old pier which is still operating.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 22:21:35
After that, we went to Kiyosumi-shirakawa 清澄白河 for afternoon tea. This district is a cultural district, quiet and tidy, and the central park of this district is Kiyosumi Teien 清澄庭園.

It is hardly imagined that there is such an oasis in a city. Beautiful. Even the turtles make good use of the pond and sunlight.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 22:23:23
Our afternoon tea was at Blue Bottle coffee, a landmark coffee shop in this district. People used to line up for 30 minutes to get their coffee.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 22:29:29
We finished our freshly brewed coffee and walked to the restaurant for our dinner. Our route passed through the birth place of Ozu Yasujirō 小津安二郎, a famous director.

The dinner we went to was called Tempura Mikawa Zezankyo 美川是山居. The chief chef of this restaurant is famed as the god of tempura. You have to make reservation 1 month in advance and pay deposit during reservation.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 22:31:48
This is our menu. Omakase of course. You can only have what they offer. The wine list is quite comprehensive.

Food are delicious, it is up to its value although a bit pricey.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 22:35:51
The next day we went to the old Tsukiji 舊築地市場. Last time I was there was in 2009. Still busy and we had our lunch there. I found the prices were up a lot.

Hmmmm long time not seeing this seafood trolley.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 22:40:09
The date was 4 May 2019. The new emperor came to accept the people's greeting so Ginza area was assigned as people walkway. Therefore I can stand on the middle of the usually busy road to take picture.

After that we went to a coffee shop, where John Lennon and Yoko Ono once were sitting.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 22:42:22
A night scene in Ginza. That's concluded my trip with my sister in law and my mom in law.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 22:48:13
My wife was back to Hong Kong on 5 May and my primary schoolmates would arrive on 6 May.

Therefore I had a day on my own. I decided to go to some spots that has some meanings to me but may not for others.

The first spot I wanted to have a look was Shibuya crossing, the most busiest junction in the world. It is really amazing. The transition of the traffic light takes about one minute but you can see people rushing around. They can manage to finish the crossing just before the cars start crossing the road.



Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 22:53:06
The next spot is Japan Bridge.

Not only because this is an old bridge dated back to Menji period, but because this is the road mark of Tokyo, i.e. the measuring point for distance between cities.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 22:57:07
Spot no. 3, the Edo Castle, i.e the nowadays Royal Palace. This one is big but the historical significance is undoubtedly the Seimon Stonebridge 二重橋.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 22:58:38
After that, I walked to Tokyo station and on the way I took this picture. The modern business center on the left and the traditional old castle on the right, separated by the moat.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 23:01:40
The night scene of Tokyo station is beautiful....................


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 23:10:13
The next morning.

While I was waiting for my friend, I went to Kamakura 鎌倉 to take a picture that I long for taking.

A comic Slam Dunk made 鎌倉高校前路口 Kamakura Goukou Mae a famous spot. Every day a lot of tourists come here to take picture and it had already caused inconvenience to the people living there. I saw that groups of tourists  (sadly mainly Chinese) come and go and each of them standing in the junction without caring about the traffic, which is very dangerous.

I waited for quite long to have a shot without people jamming on the road.......

You see from the second picture that the city government gets someone to regulate the traffic but his main duty is to warn the tourists not to get in the junction during green night.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 23:11:52
Even the train was drawn in the comic book, so I took pictures for it too...... ;D


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 23:15:04
I would meet my friends at Shinagawa Prince Hotel, so I was back to hotel in the late afternoon.

The hotel is just next to the train station. After I checked in I walked around the station and found a Blue Bottle coffee shop there.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 23:16:42
Walking down the station is a road to office buildings. The entrance of the station faces with two poles with heart at the top.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 23:19:53
After I met my friends and had dinner with them, we went to Shinjuku Kabukicho 歌舞伎町一番街, another place where I had been a decade ago.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 23:22:27
The next day I started my part 3 journey with my friends. Guess where was our first destination?

Kamakura again....... via Yokohama

The picture is a stop by in Yokohama


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 23:25:39
In Kamakura, we visited two places. This first one was the Kōtoku-in 鎌倉大仏殿高徳院

There is a big buddha


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 23:27:14
You can enter into the buddha and learn how it is built.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 23:35:00
The second place was Tsurugaoka Hachimangu 鶴岡八幡宮. The temple of Kamakura period. 

The entrance separates the pond of Ping 平池 and the pond of Yuen 源池 (so called the Genpei Pond 源平池) You can guess who won the battle by comparing the size of their pond.

This place is huge, with a temple higher up from a long staircase, a wall of sake too.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 23:43:03
The next day we went to Atami 熱海. Atami castle is on the hill top where we can oversee the city. A nice city view.

Inside the castle there are some models of different castles in Japan and some tools, wafuku and paintings. Nothing special indeed but we still spent an hour or so playing free video games....  :D


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 23:49:23
The next stop was Kinomiya 來宮神社. There is a tree of over 1000 years old. This is also a jinja for people wedding.

The third picture is the old tree....


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 23 May 2019, 23:49:48
Our next spot was  Fuji shibazakura matsuri 富士芝桜祭.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 25 May 2019, 11:59:03
After that we took a cable to Kawaguchiko 河口湖天上山公園, you can oversee the city of 河口湖 with a backdrop of fujusan 富士山.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 25 May 2019, 12:03:20
We stayed at a hotel in Kawaguchi of course. Most hotels there are built arond the lake facing fujisan. Their design is that almost all the guest rooms are facing fujisan and the other side of the hotel is used for back of house stuff. After all, the selling point of these hotels is the view of the mountain.

Here are the pictures of my room and its view.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 25 May 2019, 12:12:53
Next morning had something fun to do. I was minded to take picture of Fujisan in the early morning, maybe at sunrise. There is a phenomenon called Reverse Fuji 逆富士, which is the reflection of the Fujisan on the lake. It requires a stable and flat surface so it usually appears during early morning as not many activities are carried out in such time.

Giving the cloudy sky in the previous day in Fujisan area, I did not expect much to have a clear sky. I woke up at 4:30am (dunno why, I did not set an alarm) and saw that the sky was clear. So I rushed down to take pictures.

I thought I was still a bit late, but I can still see the light from the rising sun. The following pictures show that the east side of the mountain was yellow in colour.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 25 May 2019, 12:19:44
There is a walking path along the coastal line from my hotel (where it is almost the one end of the coast) to the bridge. I found that the water are still on both end but not in the middle. Therefore, it would be better to shoot the reflection at both end. The drawbacks are that the angle at the bridge are is a bit flat, while at my hotel area, the left side of the view is blocked by another slope.

In the middle, the reflection is not as clear as that in the ends. But a close up shoot is still nice.


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 25 May 2019, 12:25:40
I walked back to hotel at about 6:00am. On my way back, some water activities were carrying out (1st picture).

Now you may know why I had to wake up early, the ripples on the lake surface was increasing...... ;D

I took the 2nd one at the carpark of my hotel.

The third one is the overview of the lake area. My room is next to the room on the right hand side of the picture


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 25 May 2019, 12:33:40
We were back to Tokyo after we checked out at Kawaguchi. In the afternoon, I went to quite a controversial place Yasukuni Shrine 靖国神社. I heard a lot about this from the news but had never been there, so I paid a visit when I had some time on my own.

To be frank, this one is tidy and decent. Long straight way to the shrine, large Torii 鳥居, simple colour tone with fine and clear architecture. I can feel how solemn it is.....


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 25 May 2019, 12:39:22
Now there are guards standing in different posts, after someone go there protesting.

Phototaking is prohibited in the shrine area. If you divide the shrine in 3 parts, you are free to take pictures at the first two (like my first and second picture here).

The third picture shows the boundary. After the Torii, you are not allowed to take picture. However, they forget that we can zoom in ;D. I did not pass the Torii and took the forth one. You see the guard on the left ?


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 25 May 2019, 12:42:27
After the visit, I went to Tsukiji again to meet my friends for sushi dinner. I arrived early and had a walk to Hongwanji 築地 本願寺.

A rather western style temple.......


Title: Re: Tohoku Japan 日本東北
Post by: hangchoi on 25 May 2019, 12:44:08
We had the afternoon flight on the next day. That morning was our shopping time so I just went to Ginza to buy something.

That concluded my 17 days of 迎送生涯........ :D